BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Tanisha Carter totaled 16 points and made the game-winning basket with 6.5 seconds remaining as the University of Bridgeport held off a late Southern New Hampshire University rally for a 55-53 women's basketball victory Thursday afternoon at Harvey Hubbell Gymnasium in the first round of the Bridgeport Holiday Invitational. The Purple Knights won their second straight to improve to 3-8, while the Penmen saw a four-game win streak snapped and are now 9-3.
Carter finished 8-17 from the floor and also contributed five steals. Marie Biondi totaled 14 points off the bench on 6-9 shooting, while Edna Marrant added 11 points and six assists for the Purple Knights.
Sloane Sorrell (Berwick, Maine) led a balanced SNHU effort with nine points and six rebounds, while Christine Duffy (South Boston, Mass.) (pictured) finished with eight points and seven assists. Megan Spanarkel (Tinton Falls, N.J.) and Megan Smith (Smithfield, Maine) also totaled eight points apiece, with Spanarkel also grabbing seven rebounds. Deborah LaValley (Rochester, N.H.) had a season-high seven points.
Southern New Hampshire, which trailed 31-19 at halftime and 47-35 with just over nine minutes to play, used an 8-0 burst to tie the game 51-51 with just over four minutes remaining on a layup by Smith. The Purple Knights reclaimed the lead on their next possession on a Biondi basket, but the guests tied the game with 3:25 left on a Sorrell basket.
With the game still knotted at 53 with a minute to go, SNHU worked the clock down, but a layup attempt by Smith was off the mark, with Bridgeport grabbing the rebound. Carter would miss her initial attempt, but collected the offensive rebound and put in a 12-footer with 6.5 seconds left to give UB a 55-53 lead.
The Penmen would get one final possession. Michelle DeRoma (West Roxbury, Mass.) was poised to attempt a game-winning three from the right corner, but the ball was knocked away by a Bridgeport defender as time expired.
SNHU jumped out to a 9-6 lead 6:15 into the game, but Bridgeport used a 13-2 run to build a 19-11 lead with 8:26 left following a conventional three-point play by Marrant. The guests would pull within six twice, the latest with 6:02 left on a pair of Smith free throws that made it 21-15, but the Purple Knights held the Penmen to just two field goals the rest of the half and opened up a 31-19 lead at the break.
Southern New Hampshire shot 72.2% (13-18) in the second half and 56.8% for the game and also outrebounded Bridgeport 28-25, but committed 33 turnovers while the Purple Knights had 25 giveaways. The Penmen also made eight more trips to the free throw line, going 10-13 at the charity stripe, while UB was 4-5 at the line. Bridgeport shot 40.7% for the game.
SNHU returns to action Friday afternoon when it takes on Dowling College in the second round of the Bridgeport Holiday Classic in a 2:00 contest. The Golden Lions, who face No. 1 Bentley in Thursday's second game, enter the tournament 9-0 overall.